Rise of the Runelords

Catacombs under Sandpoint?

29-30 Rova, 4707

The men scatter to the four winds.

Gellius goes to Father Abstalar Zantus to inform him of the grave news. He is shocked and saddened by the news, but is most incredulous when the druid tells him that Nualia is involved, as Father Zantus (and the town) were sure that she died during the Late Unpleasantness. In hopes of shedding some light on the issue, Zantus tells Gellius what he remembers about Nualia.

She was an orphaned child, abandoned on the steps of the old Chapel. She had an unusual appearance, with bronze skin and snow-white hair, and was generally believed to have angelic ancestry (known as an aasimar). Father Tobyn adopted the infant, viewing her arrival as a sign from Desna, and raised her as his own, hoping that she would enter the clergy upon adulthood as he had. Throughout her childhood, Nualia was regarded by others with a superstitious air, and believed to be lucky or blessed. People would seek her out, thinking a touch, or a laugh, or a teardrop or lock of her hair, would confer a divine favor upon them. This positive, but unwanted, attention, made Nualia shy and withdrawn. As an adolescent, Nualia grew into an exceptionally attractive, even stunning, young woman, but her otherworldly beauty only seemed to isolate her in the small community, rather than bringing her the attention of suitors. A Varisian lad, Delek Viskanta, had a secret affair with Nualia, which they kept hidden from her father. That affair turned out to be more intimate than most townsfolk suspected, when Nualia became pregnant. Delek refused to take responsibility, calling her a harlot and a slut, and left town ahead of a swell of disapproval. Father Tobyn was outraged that his daughter, who he had hoped would enter Windsong Abbey, had cavorted with this boy in secret. He kept a much stricter eye on Nualia after that point, but late in her pregnancy, she had serious complications and miscarried. Healing magic stabilized her, but she was asleep in a coma during almost the entire reign of terror from the Chopper. She had not awakened on the day that the Chapel burned, so everyone assumed that she had perished with her father in the blaze.

Father Zantus knows that Tsuto Kaijitsu had a very difficult childhood, as his father disowned him and put him in the orphanage. As his father was a member of one of the founding noble houses, Tsuto seemed to particularly resent being regarded as a bastard in the orphanage, and grew up very status-conscious and quick to take offense. However, once his sister began to visit him, and he was able to train at the House of Blue Stones, he seemed to improve his attitude, and while he was never a particularly popular young man, he didn’t seem like the type that would get into this sort of unpleasantness. Father Zantus doesn’t remember Tsuto having any relationship with Nualia, although as a young woman, she was exceptionally attractive. Most of the young men probably fancied her to a greater or lesser degree, but her unwanted, but unavoidable, ‘divine essence’ might have kept away most of the salacious intentions. After the death of his mother, Tsuto was very distraught, and made wild accusations about his father, and argued with his sister Ameiko at their mother’s funeral. He quit the town in a huff at that point, and had not been seen again.

Corvus seeks out Ilsoari Gandethus, in hopes of learning the true nature of Tsuto’s ring. He fibs and tells the old wizard that he found the valuable-looking ring washed up on the seashore. When Gandethus is unable to identify the magic within the ring (as he hasn’t prepared such spells today), Corvus also seeks out Vorvashali Voon, but the eccentric shopowner is also unable to identify the ring that Corvus “found beach-combing”. Corvus also commissions a tiny tin shovel from Das Korvut, who takes the gold bemusedly, and promises to have this ‘custom job’ ready the next day.

Zendo goes back to the jail to interrogate Tsuto, accompanied by Hikage. Tsuto seems unfazed by his captivity, and seems to think that his allies will rescue him before he can be brought to trial. As he knows that the men have seized his journal, he freely admits to being in league with the goblins (though he insists that this is a master/subordinate relationship, and not a partnership). When confronted about the death of his father, Tsuto claims, quite vehemently, that Lonjiku deserved his fate, for killing Tstuo’s mother,Atsuii Kaijitsu . He claims that his father pushed his mother off the balcony, rather than the accidental fall which supposedly killed her. Zendo and Hikage express their concern to Vachedi that Tsuto may be the target of a prison break, but Vachedi seems confident that goblins would be quite unable to make their way into the jail, especially in time to rescue the cocky and unpleasant half-elf.

Hikage returns to the House of Blue Stones to finish his chores. Sabyl Sorn expresses her displeasure that Hikage is allowing his discipline to falter, even with the events that have befallen the town. When Hikage points out that his intervention helped to rescue Ameiko from her brother, Tsuto, who appears to be behind the recent goblin raid, Sabyl acknowledges his valor, but also points out that Tsuto, while the student of her father, never completed his studies and lost his discipline, well before he made an alliance with evil creatures.

Ragnar goes to the Pixie’s Kitten after an unsuccessful flirtation with Savah Bevaniky at the armory, where he enjoys a ‘Heroes of Sandpoint’ two-for-one special. This focuses his thought processes, and when he rejoins the group, he asks Corvus what a ‘quasit’ is.

Corvus recognizes a quasit as a minor demon, summoned into being as a familiar for a wizard or other arcanist. Quasits are not normally very powerful demons, but, being demonic, are quite resilient, being immune to electricity and acid, and resistant to fire and cold, as well as difficult to harm without enchanted weapons.

The next day, the wizard prepares his spells, as the druid prays to Gozreh. Once the group is prepared, they make their way to the Glassworks. They are greeted by the members of the town militia who have been assigned to guard the building. The townsmen mutter darkly about the grim mess inside, and urge the heroes to show no quarter to any goblins they find.

The men proceed to the old smuggler’s tunnels under the Glassworks. After following the tunnel for some distance northeast, they see a branch leading to the east, but decide to bypass this for the moment, as it doesn’t show much signs of recent use. Further along, they find another branch in the tunnel, which had been bricked off sometime in the past, but has now been reopened. The brickwork is scattered and piled up, making it difficult to see whether the wall was brought down from this side or the other. They decide to follow the formerly bricked-up passage.

Following that passage, the group comes upon a widening of the tunnels, with several different entrances visible. Some of the group in the front hears a suspicious noise, and thus most of the group, with the exception of Zendo, guarding the rear, is not surprised when a loathsome humanoid attacks them. With pale, moist skin, dog-like legs, clawed arms, and a gruesome, slobbering mouth that hinges open to reveal tiny arms within the lower jaw, the beast seems certain to be up to no good, even though the men cannot understand the strange language it gibbers. Gellius summons a dire rat to assist, and Ragnar, Hikage, and he quickly attack the foul being. Corvus, hanging back, recognizes it as a ‘sinspawn’, a constructed lifeform, created by magic and animated by the soul energies of a particularly sinful sacrifice. Such troops were created in the past by ancient, magically powerful civilizations, though the rituals are long lost and better forgotten. Ragnar, bitten by the drooling maw of the beast, seems overwhelmed with pent-up anger, and mutters something about a ‘giant killing my mother’ before becoming subdued and surly. Though grotesque, the monstrosity is quickly dispatched, and Ragnar soon recovers his normal demeanor.

The men explore these new passages, finding some are simple tunnels, while others are carefully worked stone. In one room, they find a statue of a beautiful woman, clad in robes, and carrying a book and a ranseur. Though quite shapely and attractive, the statue is not posed sensually, but rather reflects intense anger and fury. The carved book depicts an unusual seven-pointed star on the cover, which even Corvus does not recognize, but he can recognize, but not read, the runes on the woman’s robes as being Thassilonian in origin. The ranseur, unlike the statue, is of ebony wood, chased with gold and ivory. Ragnar frees it from the statue’s grasp and proclaims that, while not his preferred weapon, the ranseur is well-crafted. He slings his axe and carries the ranseur as they continue to explore.

The heroes discuss whether which path to follow, and decide to proceed up several flights of steps. As they enter a small round room, containing a pool of water, encircled by skulls, Zendo’s acute eyesight spots a small moving object hiding in the shadows. The group rushes forward to see what it could be, and are startled to see that it appears to be a demonic looking head, flying on membranous batwings. Ragnar charges it and almost pins it to the wall with his new weapon. Struck by such a grievous blow, the aberration shrieks, releasing an unearthly howl that paralyzes everyone but Hikage and Corvus. Ragnar, directly in front of the monster, takes the brunt of the blast, and remains paralyzed for the entire fight. The bat-winged freak advances on Corvus, who seems the worst equipped to do battle with it, as it cannot engage with most of the paralyzed heroes. However, Hikage soon comes to the rescue, and strikes down the foul beast from behind. Corvus recognizes the misshapen creature as a vargouille, a demonic creature that frequents graveyards and other places of death when not constrained in the pits of the Abyss. Fortunately, the vargouille was unable to ‘kiss’ any of the men, infecting them with a supernatural plague that would claim their lives and transform them into a beast such as it.

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Butcharthur

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